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Alan’s Silvestri’s soundtrack to The Croods, Dreamworks Animation’s newest animated blockbuster, is a mixed big of musical styles, intermittently enjoyable but mostly forgettable.
The first few tracks prove the most interesting, with a strong percussive element that elevates the tracks into something a little more unique. As this is a film about cavemen, it only makes sense that the soundtrack would have a less orchestral component. Taking this percussive element one step further, his best track is performed by the USC marching band. Appearing on the third track of the set, Smash and Grab is something I was genuinely not expecting, a cover of the Fleetwood Mac rock classic, Tusk. I can’t fathom how this fits into the film, but it’s a standout track and one of the truly memorable moments to be found.
Becoming more traditional as it progresses, Silvestri falls back into his familiar rhythms, creating new tracks that would feel right at home in his scores for Back to the Future, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Predator, etc. Those are all great soundtracks, and a composer can’t be expected to reinvent the wheel with each and every outing. I just found it disappointing to hear the score evolve from something so unique to the completely traditional. However, I imagine that this is an intentional decision designed to emulate the evolution of the cavemen throughout the film. As the family progresses, so to does the soundtrack.
This isn’t to say that there aren’t a lot of fun individual tracks scatter throughout the latter part of the set. There are some great action cues to be found in tracks such as Piranhakeets and Planet Collapse, as well as some quieter, more introspective moments that I’m sure perfectly encapsulate the moment on screen.
The only real misfire on the set is Shine Your Way, a generic pop anthem from Owl City and Yuma. A song that feels as if written by committee to rise through the pop charts, this is as generic and cheesy as pop gets. Even the title is uncomfortably bland, evoking a forced inspirational message that just doesn’t fit with a soundtrack such as this.
While not trapped entirely in the past, Silvestri’s work doesn’t appear to have evolved nearly as much as I would have expected over the years. Overall though, I had a good time with the score, and while it might not get excessive play in my music rotation, I can’t wait to see how it all fits into the film itself.